RAPAPORT… The first batch of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange fields was sold this week with Kimberley Process (KP) certificates after the government held its first official auction of the stock.
Mines Ministry officials said that about 900,000 carats of diamonds valued at $72 million were put up for auction on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Buyers from Israel, Lebanon and Russia were said to have participated in the sale, which took place at the Harare airport.
The KP agreed in July to certify a portion of the goods mined at Marange between May 28 and August 1 during KP monitor Abbey Chikane’s pending visit to the country. Chikane certified the stones this week, while a KP review mission was in the country to inspect various operations being conducted there.
An earlier report compiled by Chikane indicated a stockpile of approximately 4.7 million unsold carats that were mined at Marange prior to May 28. It is unclear how these goods will be approached by the KP. South Africa-based Chikane is due to visit Zimbabwe again during the week of September 6 to certify a second batch of Marange diamonds.